Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/22/paypal-wikileaks-protesters-ddos-free-speech There is no weapon on the planet more powerful than speech. In recent years, the digital revolution has led to new and unique ways for people to express themselves, and speech has flourished around the world, bringing it closer together. As a lawyer and as someone who promotes the advancement of individual liberties, I was fascinated by the advent of online speech, which was quickly followed by the advent of online protest. Readthe full report here

Silver Lining

Press TV

Kuwaiti police have clashed with thousands of people protesting against the detention of a leading opposition figure, government and opposition sources say.

On Wednesday night, the police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the opposition protesters who marched on the central prison in the capital Kuwait City where Mussallam al-Barrak is detained.

Hours earlier, the public prosecutor extended the detention of Barrak for 10 days over comments considered critical of the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah.

According to opposition activists, more than 10,000 people attended Wednesday’s demonstration. The protesters assembled at Barrak’s residence in Andalus, 20 kilometres southwest of Kuwait City, and then walked towards the central jail about three kilometers away.

The demonstrators were chanting “freedom for Barrak” and holding banners reading “The nation wants the release of the conscience of the nation.”

On October 21, at least 100 protesters were injured at a…

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“On Psywar against the Innocent”

Global Research, September 24, 2012
mind

When freedom of expression is used to incite the public to hatred of a national, religious, racial or ethnic group it becomes a crime. According to Article 20 of the U.N.’s “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” :

1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

This doesn’t contradict rights of freedom of expression. It attempts to constrain agendas of hatred. It is possible that any program of military propaganda or psywar against groups or nations is fundamentally illegal. Attempts to defend extreme hate crimes as within our rights of free speech encourages censorship, which encourages repression.

A video of U.S. origin, “Innocence of Muslims,” the trailer to a film defaming and sexually deriding the Prohet Mohammed, has of course resulted in protest by Muslims worldwide. Why isn’t everyone protesting ? The trailer is intensively offensive to human values, lacks redeeming artistic merit, and is recognizably propaganda. In California a judge refused to ban “Innocence of Muslims” from youtube, on the grounds that suppression would violate U.S. guarantees of free speech.

In France Charlie Hebdo has published on its cover a cartoon caricature depicting Islam’s Prophet naked in a distorted sexual posture. The effect is despicable and intended. The original issue sold out and despite the anxiety of the country’s 4 million Muslims, Charlie Hebdo ran the cartoon again. While France is sensitive to religious laws (abortions don’t appear in French literature), it hasn’t charged the editors of Charlie Hebdo with a hate crime, and instead closed French embassies and schools in twenty countries. Domestically any protests against the Charlie Hebdo cartoon, or against the American video/film, are banned.  In Germany there are debates about whether the film should be allowed at cinemas or not.

To step back in history: in 2005 a cartoon of the Prophet by a Dutch cartoonist caused global protest by Muslims. The effect of his cartoon was compounded by selection of Islamic countries as NATO’s preferred military targets as well as the occupation of Iraq. Internationally the humour of blasphemous cartoons is lost on people who live by their religions, particularly when their co-religionists are slaughtered for profit.

Europe can’t be considered unwitting in the uses of cartoons as weaponry. Starting in about 1934 a campaign of cartoons attacking Judaism became a singularly Nazi tool in propaganda programs which became extermination programs. A similarity compounds in that both the U.S. video and the French cartoon are semi-pornographic in deriding their target sexually. Sexual derision as propaganda was introduced to the world by Julius Streicher, editor of Der Stuermer, the Nazi organ which published cartoons of Jews defined to caricature. A note from  The Black Book, originally compiled by the Soviet Union’s Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee starting in 1942:

For the first time in history, pornography was made an instrument of national education when Julius Streicher became editor of Der Stuermer and head of the publishing house Stuermer Verlag. Streicher, governor of Franconia, publicly honored by Hitler, was charged with the task of turnng men in swine. Sadism and morbid sexual suggestions were the means. No under-the-counter sales were made of his perversely sensational literature, but rather by advertising and even by edict was it disseminated throughout Germany….Der Stuermer claims that the Jewish religion by its laws imposes sexual crimes on its believers.”

The video trailer of  “Innocence of Muslims” strums these chords. In every country of the world, Muslims have the courge to protest the ugliness. Aside from being a blasphemy within Islam, the singular derision of the Prophet extends to the entire religious group. It isn’t only propaganda but hate propaganda, and the occasional violence of the response a measure of the propaganda’s damage and effectiveness.

“Innocence of Muslims” has its predecessor in the film Fitna made by Netherlands MP Geert Wilders, who rose to a seat in Dutch Parliament by increasing Islamophobia and gathering its support. In February 2009 Wilders showed the film to members of the U.S. Congress. In Canada as the Conservative government contributed to the illegal bombing of Libya, Mr. Wilders shared his opinion of Mohammed on May 9th, 2011 in Toronto, then on May 10 from Ottawa’s National Arts Center. Although Wilders was acquitted of hate speech in the Netherlands, moments of his warnings against Islamizaton are provocative deep insults. Canada’s laws against hate speech were not applied and he was given police protection. When the banner of freedom of speech yields a serious hate crime, repeatedly without prosecution, the campaign is sanctioned by the State.

Citizens of Western nations where ‘sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me,’ are slow to realize the sensitivity of Islam to symbolism, if not  somewhat numb to religion in general. In the 1980′s Islamic fundamentalist threats against Salmon Rushdie may have seemed a ridiculous response to his manner of questioning authority. After strong warnings, his “Satanic Verses” was used in a worldwide marketing campaign with predictable results. Some indication of an agitprop campaign was there in the effective marshalling of England’s and North American literary communities to Rushdie’s defense, in a “which side are you on” equation useful to warriors, less so to intellectuals. The rise of Islamophobia inerfaces neatly with U.S. and Coaliton bombing of Iraq in 1990-91, and the subsequent military policies against Islamic nations. The defense of Rushdie’s literary merit and rights, was followed by the demonization of Saddam Hussein and five Hiroshima’s worth of ordinance dropped on a Muslim culture in 1990 and 91, initial steps in the destruction of Iraq’s national group, museums, culture, people.

Because in 2012, the U.S. and France refuse to assert  domestic laws against hate crimes in response to ongoing violations of Muslims’  civil, religions and political rights, the propaganda continues with State sanction. In France, the government’s responses to Hebdo and the anti-Islamic film contribute to isolating Muslims from their national fabric. It has the same effect as adopting anti-burqa legislation. In North America the ongoing extreme abuses of Islamic culture, both through crimes of foreign policy, but more immediately in the military’s and legal system’s treatment of individual Muslims, are normalized. The appearance of widely publicized hate crimes, masquerading as the flux of free expression,  warns one as a prelude to another step in another illegal war targeting hundreds of thousand of innocent civilians.

When we speak of Hitler’s “War against the Jews,”  we are using a figure of speech. It was a war against unarmed men, against women and children, carried on by an army of many millions  of highly expert soldiers using all the destructive techniques of modern military science…           – The Black Book

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My Opinion

(“Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”)  – “Honestly who is this guy kidding? he is an expert in governance!? so why is his country full of corrupt politicians and military officials and its countrymen do not know, information is not made public? why do people have no access to clean water? why do you have rebels attacking innocent civilians, why, why, why? oh it must be because you have such great governance skills!

Sheesh, i have not heard such crap before as what i hear from this man repeatedly! Taking into consideration it was this man who abolished term limits for presidents, thus allowing him to be president as long as he wants to.  Acts of intimidation by military and politicians of the opposite party, tortures and abductions, missing people and murder.  Not to mention the current bill going through legislation that will effectively ban “free media”. Without media free from government control, just like Iran, the country will become a dictatorship country.  Museveni YOU ARE a Dictator. You overtook a government with military force (albeit he was a dictator too) and committed crimes against humanity yet you say it was all Dr Obote and his army, I suggest to you that it was NOT all him and that you also, are responsible for mass murder, conscription of children for military use, crimes against humanity and corruption.  Regardless of the crimes committed by  Dr Obote and his army, you sir are just as evil as him. You have dictated to your country men what they need to hear and not what is actually happening. You have twisted your reasoning and bargained your way into a position of power, like Kony, you will not relenquish that power, until you do, Uganda will suffer.

I think the Donor countries have every right to call out Museveni on his lack of governance not his expertise.  Alot of his countries budget is made up from donor funds sent by these countries.  If he has and still is letting down his countrymen by being a dictator, imagine how hard their lives would become if the donor countries pulled their funds, i suggest mass malnutrition and poverty and crime would seriously escalate. Northern Uganda has finally found some kind of peace and people are moving home from the IDP camps. The country is finally coming slowly with stability and yet this man continually pushes the boundaries with his “im holier than thou” attitude. He seems to think that he is superior to his fellow man.

I really hope that for the sake of All Ugandans, Museveni is not re-elected president again, as i feel that the country will stop going forward and rather start heading in reverse. All the things that have been achieved will become like a distant memory. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

The Report

President Museveni has hit back in a continuing row with donors telling them not to ask questions about governance. The President’s comments on Friday came on the same day this newspaper revealed that three senior western diplomats had written to the Electoral Commission over the slow pace of reforms ahead of next year’s election.

Put aid elsewhere

Speaking during the launch of a book on economic reforms in Uganda, President Museveni said donors should not tie development assistance to demands for better governance and democracy. “Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”

While President Museveni has previously told off donors, his latest comments come amidst growing local and international pressure on his government to improve governance and protect civil liberties.

The United States government, which is a key ally, has made democracy and good governance top of its agenda in Uganda under the Obama administration and is closely monitoring the road to the election.

The US ambassador to Uganda, Mr Jerry Lanier and his counterparts Martin Shearman (UK) and Joroen Verhaul (Netherlands) on March 3 co-wrote to Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission chairman, warning that a failure to carry out reforms could erode confidence in the EC and put the credibility of the 2011 election at risk.

The government has brought four Bills to Parliament in response to calls for electoral reform but donors, the opposition and independent viewers say these are inadequate.

President Museveni’s statement indicates the government’s unwillingness to respond to pressure to implement more radical reforms such as disbanding the Electoral Commission as called for by the opposition.

Donors still fund a third of the national budget but say governance failures are affecting development and national stability. The World Bank resident representative recently issued its strongest statement yet in a scathing criticism of the government’s failure to deal with corruption.

Opposition chips in
While the President wants to keep donors out of the domestic political sphere, the opposition wants more involvement by the international community.

Responding to the envoy’s letter to the Electoral Commission, the acting Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga (FDC; Busongora South), said: “The donors have the key; they pushed President Museveni to accept multi-partyism [in 2005] and when they called him over the Anti-homosexuality Bill, the President immediately changed his position.”

MP Kibanzanga added: “If the donors tell him to accept the electoral reforms we are pushing for as the opposition, there is no doubt Mr Museveni will accept them within days.”

Information minister Kabakumba Masiko, however, said it was irregular for diplomats to bypass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and transact business directly with domestic institutions. “They should use the right channel and work with [government] to concretise democratic gains in the country and the achievements so far made by the EC,” she said.

via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – Museveni hits back in row with donors.